Yes, it is true; men are not good at looking after themselves. Despite dying on average seven years earlier than women and suffering heart disease on average 10-15 years earlier, men consult their doctor half as regularly as women!
In an article produced for the Spring 2013 edition of Tabler, Doctor Connor (who is also a member of Long Eaton Round Table) gives us a low-down on the prostate.
Firstly, the “what”
The prostate produces the main bulk of seminal fluid (yep, man-cream). It helps nourish the sperm and keep them in shape – it’s a bloody long swim! The gland continues to grow throughout a man’s life, under the influence of testosterone (the male sex hormone). The growth is generally slow and does not tend to impact until 40s-50s (affects 1 in 3 of those in 50 or over). The growth causes “hypertrophy” which simply means enlargement, same as a body builders muscles. The enlargement of the gland can cause problems.
When any part of the body grows, it does so under careful control of factors which are supposed to balance fast growth with cell die back. When this control is lost or one particular group of cells become dominant or aggressive, you develop aberrant growth (meaning abnormal and often uncontrolled); this is essentially what cancer is. It is said that if every man lived to 150 years old, we would ALL develop prostate cancer as a normal progression. This is why it is the most common forms of cancer (1 in 4 of all new cancer diagnoses) and the second most common cancer death in men (only beaten by lung cancer, as the latter is so much more aggressive).
So, how do you tell the difference – you don’t!
That is for the medical professional to sort out. If peeing doesn’t feel right then go and talk to your GP. The potential exam does put guys off, but it does only take a moment (about 10 seconds) and is very routine. If yours takes longer than 15 minutes or you feel both hands on your shoulders at the same time, change doctors!
There are good, well-tolerated options for treating benign prostate disease, so it’s worth visiting the doc. Caught early, any cancer has a better chance, treatment options may be less aggressive. Treatment includes radiotherapy, surgery and hormone therapies.
Symptoms to watch
Taking a long time to start (we’ve all seen the guy at the urinals for 5 minutes, seemingly with no activity)
Can you write your name in the snow still? I know some of you couldn’t spell it, but could you make an X?
Feeling that you haven’t completely emptied the tank
You shake and put him away and he lets out a cheeky squirt – when not drunk, this is not normal
No time to lose, have to dash to the toilet
Waking up in the night to pee when not trollied
This list is not exhaustive so if something changes – go and see a Doctor!
Dr Adam Connor
Loughborough Round Table